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Spending Freeze – Too Little, Too Late

The Republicans in Congress website, GOP.gov, makes some excellent points about Mr. Obama’s supposed spending freeze:

Obama’s Discretionary Spending Freeze Proposal

January 27, 2010

Under intense pressure to address reckless spending, record deficits, and exploding debt, the Administration will reportedly announce a plan to freeze some non-defense, discretionary spending at current levels beginning in FY 2011.  According to those reports, the freeze would apply to approximately 12 percent of FY 2010 government spending and could reduce projected spending increases in FY 2011 by up to $15 billion.  While viewing this modest freeze as a welcome concession by the President that the policies of uncontrolled spending have failed, many Members may believe that a much more extensive approach to cutting spending is necessary to considerably reduce the enormous deficits facing our nation over the next ten years.

Freezes After Huge Increases:  The President’s plan to freeze some expenditures comes after a year of unprecedented discretionary increases which inflated current spending levels.  In March, 2009, the President signed a $410 billion omnibus spending bill for FY 2009 that increased non-defense spending by $32 billion or 8.3 percent above the previous year.  Less than two months ago, in December, he signed yet another, $447 billion omnibus which increased non-defense funding by 12 percent. Not all of those funding increases have taken effect, but the President has not proposed any rescissions.  Between FY 2009 and FY 2010, non-defense discretionary funding increased 17.4 percent.  In addition to the huge increases in regularly appropriated spending, Congress passed a $787 billion "stimulus" bill which included $311 billion in "emergency" discretionary appropriations.  According to the House Budget Committee Republicans, if "stimulus" funding is included, non-defense discretionary funding has increased by 57 percent since Obama took office.

Freezes Only a Portion of Discretionary Spending: According to reports, the Obama proposal will exempt discretionary "security" spending, including defense, homeland security, veterans, and foreign aid discretionary spending.  Therefore, the discretionary spending subject to the freeze would be limited to portions of the Agriculture, CJS, Energy and Water, Financial Services, Interior, Labor-HHS-Education, Legislative Branch, and the Transportation and HUD spending bills.  According to CBO, those eight appropriations bills account for less than $450 billion or roughly 12 percent of the $3.5 trillion the government will spend in FY 2010.  While any type of spending freeze is a step in the right direction, the President’s proposal would be too limited to considerably reduce deficits, which will average $905 billion annually under Obama’s budget and $672 billion annually under current law over the next ten years.

Ignores Huge, New Spending Programs:  According to press reports, the proposal would exclude spending initiatives that might be passed between now and the start of FY 2011.  This could include the potential cost of implementing a government takeover of health care, the $49.9 billion in discretionary costs associated with a national energy tax, and a second "stimulus" bill which could cost in upwards of $150 billion.  In addition to the huge mandatory costs of the Democrats’ government takeover of health care, according to the Republican staff of the Appropriations Committee, the legislation could cost $150 billion in discretionary funding, costs which are not reflected in the CBO’s scores.  Two CBO letters sent to House and Senate Congressional Leadership prior to consideration of their respective health care bills stated, "CBO has not completed an estimate of all the discretionary costs that would be associated with the legislation.  Total costs would include those arising from the effects of the legislation on a variety of federal programs and agencies as well as from a number of new and existing programs subject to future appropriations."

Excludes Mandatory Spending:  The spending freeze would not address mandatory spending, which will account for $1.9 trillion or 55 percent of all spending in FY 2010, according to CBO.  For instance, Medicare is projected to be $528 billion or 15 percent of total spending, and CBO estimates that Medicaid will cost $270 billion and account for 8 percent of all federal spending.  Funding for other smaller mandatory programs accounts for an additional $621 billion or 17 percent of federal spending in FY 2010.  In addition, the freeze would exclude any funding designated as "emergency spending," including mandatory and discretionary portions of the "stimulus" bill, which total almost $500 billion.  None of these funds would be considered for a freeze under the proposal.

But the spending freeze sure sounded good coming off the teleprompter.

This article was posted by Steve on Thursday, January 28th, 2010. Comments are currently closed.

6 Responses to “Spending Freeze – Too Little, Too Late”

  1. MinnesotaRush says:

    More of o-blah-blah and gangs smoke and mirrors, smoke and mirrors.

    Yadda, yadda, yadda .. blah, blah, blah .. which shell is the pea under now?

    What’s that you say .. we’re past broke now! Ha! Give it a few years and see what you got!

    Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. 132 gazillion saved or created and Joe will see to it. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

    So .. try to get this, folks.

    • Rusty Shackleford says:

      Just for the record, this is exactly how he “managed” his own personal finances before he got paid for “the book”.

    • proreason says:

      Krauthammer’s take:

      “This is a man who I think will fake a pivot and will at least attempt it and see if it works. We saw a hint of that when he announced the [discretionary spending] freeze yesterday, which is in and of itself a phony and a fraud.”

      He’s with me on that, but with less colorful language.

      But now I think his latest blah blah indicates that the fake is going to be half-hearted, at the most.

      He just can’t forsake Daddy, Mommy, Step-daddy, Frank Russell, Grampa, Bill Ayers, Rev Wright, ThunderButt, Soros, Andy Stern, Wade Rathke, Father Pfleger….all of the communists who have shaped him.

      Can anybody name a single person who has influenced him who IS NOT a communist, socialist or radical of some ilk?

    • tranquil.night says:

      “The difference between ’94 and ’10 is me.” – BHO

  2. proreason says:

    So, to summarize.

    They jacked spending up 25% or so in 2009. And now they are going to freeze it…..next year…..after they overspend the 25% this year.

    Except for militatry spending, which will be held to the rate of inflation, or less. And Social Security, which rises with inflation, by law. And Medicare/Medicaid, which are excluded from the freeze and go up about 9% a year. Which 3 constitute about 90% of the budget. And, of course, porkulus I and porkulus II (if passed) are also excluded.

    Got it.

    Thank God we finally have a tough fiscal conservative as our ruler.

  3. heykev says:

    It’s nice information, but not in a format most people will read. The Repub’s need something that will have short bullet points stating why this information is important, what it means to the average American and then go into the verbiage.


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